Ray's Hell Burger
 Washington D.C.      Date of Visit  08/06/12     
 No Known Website

We are in Washington D.C. for the serious business of remembering the many debts we owe for all we have and to remember one in particular in 1st Lieutenant Neil Keltner, recipient of The Distinguished Service Cross and two Purple Hearts, as he is laid to rest in the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery. While this little project is all about food it would be remiss and disingenuous to not realize or mention how insignificant this all is compared to the sacrifices represented by the monuments in our Nation’s Capitol. Think what you want of war, or politics past and present; walk past the names on the Viet Nam Wall, the fountains and stars of the World War II Memorial, the Tomb of the Unknowns or any of the other touchstones and you realize how often and selflessly our fellow citizens have put boots to ground to allow our lives to include things like this silly website. To those who have served, my sincere gratitude. There, I feel better.




Ray’s Hell Burger is the offspring of a well known D.C. steakhouse, Ray’s The Steaks. The story is the trimmings from the steakhouse are ground into the patties for the burgers. I don’t know how the steakhouse is set up, Steph cheated on me with her school director and ate there on a business trip without me…damn you Carson, but the burger place is essentially devoid of finery or design of any kind. Ordering takes place at the counter adjacent to the small dining area surrounded by walls adorned with two maps and a couple of movie posters. The maps are impressive with pins indicating where people have come from to eat here, places Carmen San Diego never heard of. Two coolers hold beverages with premium bottles being held behind the counter. You order, wait for a table in the small and busy dining area to open, sit, and the goods are delivered. In this case the goods consisted of the Soul Burger Number One, a grilled burger with mushrooms, a Diablo burger with white cheddar and the Dogcatcher. Add to that skin on fries and seven cheese mac, the aforementioned premium sodas and a shake.

How Far Would You Go For A Hell Burger?

The Definition Of Stark

Small House Sodas

Interesting Caramel Black Cow Shake, MMMmmmmmmm

The beverages were good, some more so than others with a functional ginger ale, a pretty good root beer and an excellent cheerwine. The shake was a caramel black cow. It might not meet the simple beauty of the vanilla shake at Ben’s but while busier, it was again delicious. Thick caramel swirled through sweet dairy and soda for quite the treat.

Now the chow. The sides were a mixed bag. The mac was yet another sterling disappointment lacking in texture and cheesiness, despite the obvious overabundance of seven cheeses. The fries settled in on the other end of the spectrum. Salty and potatoey they required no adornment to be yummy. That said the “heck” sauce we ordered on the side could be added to almost anything. It most closely resembles a Russian dressing you might expect on a good Rueben with an extra bite of horseradish. Very nice.



Better By Far

Grilled With Shrooms & Heck Sauce

Diablo With White Cheddar, Both Nice

The burgers…oh the burgers. Easily some of the best I have tried in a very long time. The patty is an exceptional mix of beefiness and fattiness, done just perfectly to order with a crusty exterior and and juicy interior. The grilled burger with shrooms and heck sauce looked swell and the Diablo burger grilled with their chipotle sauce with sharp white cheddar was simple grand. Steph went with the Soul Burger #1 with Applewood smoked bacon, swiss cheese, cognac and sherry sauteed mushrooms, grilled red onions. Just plain #1. Always looking for something different I ordered the Dogcatcher which comes with roasted bone marrow, persillade, lettuce and tomato. Persillade is a mix of parsley chopped together with seasonings including garlic, herbs, oil, and vinegar. I shared a taste of the marrow sans burger which didn’t fly well with our assembled crew, but I have to tell you friends, when scooped from the bone and crowned on the already awesome burger…transcendent. Fattiness + fattiness + astringent garnish + nice bread container = keep your grubby hands off my burger! My brother still calls me the goop meister for my penchant for condiments. There were several on the table…it would have been more than venial sin to apply anything (outside of a little “heck” sauce) to this wild beef sandwich extravaganza. Easily the best taste I had in D.C. this trip.

The Soul Burger #1

Done To Perfection

Meat Sandwich Glory; The Dogcatcher

Also Just As Ordered



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